Episode 101: Abbey Sass with Civil Sass Hops


This week on the podcast we check in with Abbey Sass of Civil Sass Hops. Civil Sass Hops is a hops yard on a third-generation family farm in Chatfield, MN, owned by Abbey and her husband Jake Sass. Civil Sass Hops is a woman and veteran owned business. On the show today, we sit down with Abbey and talk about:


·      Her introduction to southeast Minnesota as a Kansas native and the rural tourism she sees taking place now outside of Rochester.

·      How the dichotomy of the name Civil Sass Hops reflects the culture of the business.

·      The history of hops growth in Minnesota.

·      The value of fresh hops in local beers.

·      How hops factor into the beer brewing process.

·      Abbey’s career as an interior designer, designing hotels nationwide.

·      Her husband Jake’s entrepreneurial passion from a young age and how they collaborate as a husband/wife team to run Civil Sass Hops.

·      The importance of open and honest communication in running a business.

·      The next steps for Civil Sass Hops, including an expansion of acreage and increased collaboration efforts, both with new breweries and with markets that might be just a bit unexpected for hops.

Episode 45: Emerge 0 with Chris Lukenbill

Photo courtesy of Jamie Sundsbak.

This week on the podcast, we listen in to some audio from our very Facebook live video in a new #Emerge series. As in all things related to entrepreneurship, this is an experiment and a work in progress. On our first episode, we talked with local entrepreneur Chris Lukenbill. Chris was the Founder of, a software branch of the vertical farming technology company Bright Agrotech. built software for farmers by farmers, to pass down knowledge and assist farmers serving their communities. Just last week, Bright Agrotech was acquired by the Silicon Valley company Plenty. As part of this process, will be shut down and the team is going in separate directions. In this episode, Chris talks about his new direction and a brand new local startup that he wants to build in a unique manner.

“I always like the idea and I always tell people, when you’re going to start something, tell everybody about it.”- Chris Lukenbill

Join us on Thursday at 5PM as the community celebrates the life of

Episode 15: Chris Lukenbill and

Featured story:  New Initiative to Gage Interest in Shared Community Kitchen Space in Rochester

Rochester Rising Episode 15: Chris Lukenbill and Able

This week I got to speak with Rochester entrepreneur Chris Lukenbill and learn how he and his team are combining farming with technology at Able. Able is a farm planning software that’s built by farmers for farmers. Able is a subsidiary of Bright Agrotech, an established leader in controlled agriculture. Listen in to the podcast as Chris and I talk about Able, tech entrepreneurship in Rochester, and the use of technology in farming.

  • Able is software for farmers that functions like a kitchen table. This kitchen table has existed in commodity farming for many years, where farmers sit around and calculate last season’s numbers and pass on knowledge to the next generation.
  • Able allows for the transfer of knowledge from farmers who have production experience to those just starting to produce or just starting to grow a new kind of crop. Able is primarily for farmers who are feeding their local community, a separate entity from commodity farming.
  • Able software can help farmers in the planning phase of farming all the way through production and sales.
  • Chris started an aquaponic greenhouse farm, called Fresh with Edge, in Rochester while working at Mayo Clinic. During this time, he recognized the need for a product like Able and gained much of the knowledge needed to build the product.
  • Able currently has a three-person development team working in Rochester.